Staying healthy has been a priority for many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, but how much have you thought about keeping your skin healthy?
Dr. Donna Jubin opened Bella Sante MD Cosmetic and Laser Clinic in Saskatoon 14 years ago. Many of her patients have had similar issues in recent months.
Excessive hand washing and using hand sanitizer can dry out skin.
“Rashes especially the breakdown of the skin on the hands has been huge for our patients and for all people,” Jubin said.
Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) has caused some skin issues as well.
“Some people have already had a pre-existing condition of dry skin or predisposed to eczema, and now that they’re wearing gloves on a regular basis and handwashing, it’s breaking down that barrier,” Jubin explained.
In many cases, there are some simple solutions. Using lotion after washing your hands, using hand sanitizer or wearing gloves can keep your hands moisturized.
Jubin suggests putting cotton between your skin and mask if you’ve been breaking out while wearing one.
It’s also important to protect your skin from the sun.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted from the sun can age and damage skin, even if you’re working inside.
Windows don’t block out UV rays completely. If you have natural light in your living space or are working next to a window, your skin could be exposed to harmful UV rays.
“Our eyes don’t see UV, they see visible light,” Canadian Light Source machine director Mark Boland explains.
“The visible light gets absorbed in some way, but the UV gets absorbed in a different way.”
The UV index scale rates the amount of UV rays being emitted from low to high. Since visible light and UV light are different, seeing lots of sunshine doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a higher UV index.
“Depending on where the sun is on the sky will depend on how much air is between us and the sun,” Boland said.
The sun is closest to us at noon, which is when the UV index is typically the highest.
Blocking out the sun completely is the best way to avoid skin damage from the sun, but wearing sunscreen is another way to shield skin.
Sun Protection Factor or SPF is a measure of how much the sunscreen will protect your skin. Jubin recommends wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily.
“There’s products that we have or that are on the market that have an SPF and can moisturize or that are specific to drier skin or to more oily skin,” Jubin said.
Every person has unique skin and skin problems, so different solutions will work for different people.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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